Image Description Volunteer Communications

Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata


Bookshare has developed innovative technology to make textbooks more accessible to blind and visually impaired students.   Before now, blind and visually impaired students missed out on thousands of images in their text books.  Imagine studying science without being able to see the charts, graphs or diagrams in your textbook!  Using a simple on-line tool we call Poet, our volunteers can now write descriptions for textbook images.  Already this year, volunteers have fully described 19 textbooks, which are accessible to our student members.  Our volunteers have great writing skills and knowledge of academic subjects, with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math.  Volunteers write image descriptions in books matched to their subject matter preference.  Describe a single chapter or an entire book – it’s all up to you.  

By getting involved with Bookshare’s image description project,you can help blind and visually impaired students gain full access to their text books, and improve their opportunities for academic success!   

Read all about it!

Press Release - Call for Volunteers: Image Description Project

GoogleServe and Bookshare - A Day of Service

BYU and Mission Middle College students partner with Bookshare to describe textbook images

Before you begin...

Here are several resources to help you get started and to support you in your ongoing work.  

Please take time to familiarize yourself with them and refer to them as you start writing. By following the NCAM guidelines and "image description tips", you will be sure that your descriptions are understood by our blind and visually impaired students.

Getting Started:  Basic Instructions for Creating Image Descriptions

  1. To begin, you will register as a volunteer for Bookshare.  Log into to (note that the Bookshare site is not related to the Poet site. You will need to register at both sites).  Registering as a Bookshare volunteer allows you to access copyrighted materials for the sole purpose volunteering with Bookshare, for the benefit of our members.
  2. Register as a user on Poet.  Log in to  We highly recommend accessing the Poet tool via Google Chrome _due to the large size of the files.  _If you are registering as a volunteer as a group, please include the group name in your user name (e.g., "KarenLinkedIn" or "JohnMissionCollege".
  3. Register by clicking the Register link in the upper right corner of the page and completing the form.   
  4. Once you are on the "Poet Image Description" page, click the Edit link on the Describe Images option, input the book ID number, and click Edit. 
  5. Poet will open your book, and you can now begin!  


  • Since multiple people may work on a book at one time, use the drop down menu at the top of the navigation column, to filter images for "description needed".  This will filter out images that have already been described.  
  • Begin by clicking an image in the left hand navigation column.  The corresponding image with editing boxes will appear in the right hand column.  
  • Click on "Add a description" button.  
  • Write your description in the edit box provided, and click the “SAVE” button. (If you wish to revise your entry, simply retype it and SAVE.  The new description will replace the old one.) 
  • You can refer to the image description guidelines at any time by clicking on the round, blue information button on the top left side of your screen. 

Enter labels to add to this page:
Please wait 
Looking for a label? Just start typing.